Kyambogo University launched Translating science into Policy and Practice Project

By | March 9, 2022

The Vice Chancellor of Kyambogo University, Prof. Elly Katunguka has today March 7, 2022, launched the Afrifose2030 Project at a virtual ceremony attended by the university’s researchers and project partners.

The project, Agriculture for Security (AgriFose2030), will offer researchers training on how to translate science into Policy. The project objective is to contribute to the social, economic and environmental sustainability of smallholder farming systems in Sub-Saharan Africa, South and South-East Asia for improved food and nutrition security. The project intends to achieve this through developing the capacity of researchers in Africa to develop skills for translating research to policy and practice.

The project will be implemented in partnership with the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and the University of Gothenburg.

Prof. Katunguka called on researchers of Kyambogo University to embrace the opportunities that the project offers.

“This training is important because, for many years, scientists in Africa have been blamed for doing research that stays on the selves. This training will give researchers an opportunity to learn how to engage policymakers,” Prof. Katunguka said.

The launch was virtually attended by Dr. Sofia Boqvist from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, also the Director of AgriFose2030 and Dr. Daniel Slunge from the University of Gothenburg, who shared details of how the course will be conducted.

Prior to the launch, the Kyambogo project team had hosted researchers from across the university to orient them on the project.

Dr. Judith Irene Nagasha, the Principal Investigator of the project, said the project had selected 10 researchers to participate in the training after a rigorous exercise. The participants, she said were selected from various science disciplines.

The training will be carried out by a team from the University of Gothenburg, the private sector, faculty of Kyambogo University as well as media practitioners.

The Deputy Vice Chancellor (F&A), Prof. Fabian Nabugooma, congratulated the research team and the 10 researchers who will be participating in the training. He emphasized the importance of agricultural research saying it is the backbone of the economy and the absence of food could easily cause a war. “We should think about policy directions that guarantee food security,” he said.

He advocated a mindset change, and called on staff to be foresighted and think about where “we want to go”.  He underscored the importance of the training, saying it will allow researchers to engage policymakers. “It is important for us to interact with society and this course will allow us to engage with them in a meaningful conversation,” Prof. Nabugooma said. “The job of universities is to engage the government for our national survival. This can be social, economic and even militarily. Universities are a think-tank for government”. He emphasized that the university’s research agenda should speak to the country’s needs.

Prof, Bosco Bua, the Director of the Directorate of Research and Graduate Training, emphasized the importance of agriculture and nutritional security, as well as the role universities, can play in contributing to the National Development Plan III such as value addition and human capital development. To do this, he said, researchers have got to learn how to get the research off the shelves into the community and policymakers. He called on the researchers to take active roles in outreach engagements, dissemination of research findings and policy engagements.

Prof. Bua shared with participants the expected outputs of the training;

  1. Enhance the early career researchers’ understanding of the science-policy interface
  2. Competences developed in strategic communication
  3. Increased policy engagement
  4. Incorporation of the course into graduate training at Kyambogo University

How the course will be implemented

The course will be conducted online for a period of 3 months as shared Dr. Wilson Mugizi and Dr. Daniel. The course will run in March, April and May. It is structured for only 2 days each month.

Dr. Vice Chancellor, thanked all the participating agencies which include Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, University of Gothenburg and Sida for funding the project.

Prof. Katunguka requested Prof. Sofia and Dr. Daniel to consider giving a public lecture to all staff of Kyambogo on translating science into policy and how to engage politicians.

Follow up on the project